16 Jan 2023

Joshimath Sinking: Has Uttarakhand Govt Learnt Any Lessons? Will There Be Any Change In Development Plans For Mountains?

Joshimath: Taking lessons from the Joshimath landslide, the state government is now considering making a separate model of development in urban, town and rural areas in the hilly districts. In the coming times, the policy and planning of development in the mountains will be different from the rules and conditions applicable in the plains.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said that we also get lessons for our future from Joshimath. There is an urgent need for a practical concrete model of development in the Himalayan region. 

He said policy makers, scientists, subject experts, local people, concerned departments will decide the model of development. They will decide what should be the process of development and how to properly implement that process at the ground level.

State Govt will help of central agencies, scientists and experts

The state government will take the help of central agencies, scientists and experts. Help has also been sought from national Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The planning department may be entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating it. 

CM will soon hold a meeting

According to sources in the Chief Minister's Office, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami will soon hold a meeting of high officials in this regard.

Even before the formation of the state of Uttarakhand, there has been a demand for a different model for the development of the mountains, but since the formation of the state, the same policy has been adopted in the mountains as the one ion force in plains. Now its results are coming out in the form of Joshimath disaster.

Unplanned development continues in other cities also

Apart from Joshimath, there are dozens of cities including Nainital, Mussoorie, Gopeshwar, Srinagar, Srikot, Rudraprayag, Pauri, Ukhimath, Guptkashi, Tapovan (Rishikesh), which face the pressure of floating population in the tourist season alomg with their local populations. There is unplanned and unabated construction going on in these cities. There is no control over ongoing construction works.

Govt will assess carrying capacity of hilly areas

The government has no doubt decided that it will conduct an assessment of the carrying capacity of the hilly areas, but it is not decided yet how will this assessment be done, who will do it and by when it will start. A decision is yet to be taken on this. CM Dhami had also requested the members of NDMA to help in conducting the study of carrying capacity of hill towns.

Planning Department could be entrusted with the responsibility

The Planning Department can be entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the form of a different model of development in the hilly areas of the state and implementing it effectively at the level of all departments.

Meenakshi Sundaram, Secretary, Chief Minister and Planning, said in the cabinet meeting it has been decided to study the carrying capacity of hill towns. It is yet to be decided which agency will be given the responsibility of the study. Whatever the guidelines of the Chief Minister will be, we will proceed on that.

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